The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
I usually have a problem with a certain type of fantasy novel. I think reading one bad Terry Brooks novel ruined them for me. I can stand fantasy set in the present day, or any well written young adult fantasy, but all adult fantasy that’s set in an medieval or “typical” fantasy world (re: anything that even slightly resembles Tolkien) needs to be funny or else I can’t deal with it. This novel was different. For some reason I liked Kvothe, now disguised as a tavern owner, telling the story of his life as an arcanist (what I would call a wizard). He’s fallen on hard times, he can barely do magic (called “sympathy” in this world), but a scribe has found him and wants to hear the story of this life. Kvothe decides that he will tell his story, but that it will take three days to tell. This novel is only the first day of Kvothe telling the story of his life, and I have to admit that I’m interested in reading more.
I think that what I really like about Kvothe as a narrator is that he doesn’t always realize his faults; however, as a reader, I know when he’s in the wrong. The problem is that Kvothe knows that he’s talented, so he breaks rules. When he gets caught, he doesn’t explain himself, mainly because he doesn’t seem to realize that other people don’t know about his life. He grew up with a troop of traveling actors, but when the entire troop were killed by the Chandrian (the villains of this story, but most people consider them boogeymen) he lived in the woods and on the streets for years. He never really tells anyone about how he has suffered, so no one really understands him. If only he would reveal part of himself, he might not keep on getting into trouble when he starts going to a school for arcanists.
Sometimes the book could have been a bit tighter, with some stronger editing. This isn’t grand literature, but it’s still a great read, and I’ll be looking for the second book.